By Dr R Siva Kumar
Nephrologist & Transplant Physician , Vizianagaram
Published on 16/08/2022
Eat good food to keep away kidney stones. Your diet can make a big difference!
Do you have kidney stones? Your diet plays a vital role in preventing kidney stones.
Kidney stones have become very common in India and can occur in almost all age groups. A healthcare provider will first perform blood and urine tests as well as ultrasound tests to know your kidney condition. With these tests, the doctor will identify potential risk factors and discuss the dietary changes and medical care required to prevent kidney stones from recurring.
What is a kidney stone?
A kidney stone (renal calculi, nephrolithiasis, or urolithiasis) is a hard mass formed by urine crystals. Natural substances in urine prevent stones from developing and creating issues in most people.
People who want to avoid having kidney stones for the first time or lower the chance of recurrence if they already have had stones should follow the following food dietary plan :
Food to eat
Dietary recommendations will vary depending on the minerals found in kidney stones. People should consult their doctor regarding diet plans to prevent the formation of renal calculi.
The following are some kidney stone dietary recommendations to help avoid calculi formation in the kidneys. They are as follows:
Dehydration is a common cause of kidney stones; drinking more water can help prevent them. It is suggested to have 6-8 glasses of water each day. Many other fluids include a lot of salt; it's critical to check the sodium content of the drink.
Increasing citrus intake:
Citrus juice and fruits containing naturally occurring citrate can help reduce or prevent the formation of stones. Citrus is abundant in oranges, lemons, and grapefruit.
Oxalate levels may rise if calcium levels are inadequate. Calcium should be obtained through food rather than supplements, as supplements have been linked to kidney stone formation. Calcium is found in milk, cottage cheese and yogurt. If you can't have cow's milk, try lactose-free milk, fortified soy milk, or goat's milk.
Make vitamin D-rich foods a part of everyday diet. Vitamin D helps calcium absorption. Fatty fish, mushrooms, and cheese should all be consumed.
Fruits and vegetables:
Fruits and vegetables are essential components of a well-balanced diet. Increasing the number of vegetables and fruits (dried, frozen, or fresh) in a person's diet can help them avoid stone formation.
People should become familiar with high-oxalate fruits and vegetables such as spinach and try to limit their consumption. They can also be combined with calcium-rich meals.
Protein derived from plants:
Animal proteins are safe to consume in small amounts. On the other hand, consuming an excessive amount of animal protein especially red meat raises the risk of kidney stones.
A kidney stone diet should include plant-based proteins. To meet the needs, eat peas, beans, and lentils. People should see a doctor or a dietician about their specific protein needs, which will differ from person to person.
Foods to avoid
If someone develops a kidney stone, visit a doctor to determine the type of kidney stone. Whenever possible kidney stone should be analyzed to know it's composition. This will help to decide which foods to avoid.
If people are not sure and want to be on the safe side when it comes to kidney stones, here is the list of diets that should be avoided:
Limit salt intake:
High salt levels in the body might aggravate calcium accumulation in urine. Avoid adding excess salt to meals and read the sodium level of processed foods. Fast food, like traditional restaurant foods, can be high in sodium. Keep track of everything you eat. Some vegetable juices are also high in salt.
Reduce the consumption of animal protein:
Uric acid levels are raised by many protein sources, including red meat, pig, chicken, poultry, fish, and eggs. A substance called citrate is lowered in our urine when we consume a lot of protein. The objective of citrate is to prevent the formation of kidney stones. Protein is essential for overall health; therefore, discuss with a doctor how much should be consumed regularly.
A plant-based diet may be the best option:
Oxalates should be consumed in moderation. These substance-rich foods have been connected to the formation of kidney stones. If the patient has previously experienced kidney stones, they may want to reduce or eliminate oxalates from their diet. If the patient does not consume oxalates-containing meals, ensure that they consume calcium-rich foods. Foods high in oxalate include:
- Sweet potatoes
Colas should not be consumed:
Cola has a lot of phosphates, which is another ingredient that may promote the formation of kidney stones; thus, it should be avoided.
Added sugars are sugars and syrups added to processed foods and beverages. Increasing sugar and fructose intake may increase the risk of developing kidney stones. Keep an eye on the sugar intake, which can be found in processed foods such as cake, fruit, soft drinks, and juices.
Let’s wrap up! Here are the dietary guidelines for kidney stones
The following are some helpful hints:
- Drink at least 2-3 liters of water every day.
- Citrus juices, such as orange juice, should be consumed.
- Reduce the consumption of salt, animal protein, added sugar, and products containing high fructose corn syrup.
- At each meal, consume a calcium-rich item (No calcium supplements)
- Avoid foods and beverages high in oxalates and phosphates.
- Avoid dehydrating substances such as alcohol.
Changes in diet can have a significant impact on the formation of renal calculi. It is the first line of defense against kidney stone formation and can be quite successful.
So, with a few dietary changes, one may be able to avoid kidney stones forever!